The FSU baseball season came to an ignominious end against the rival Florida Gators tonight in Gainesville, as the 'Noles dropped an 11-4 contest to UF to lose two straight and the Gainesville Super Regional. The 'Noles were severely outmatched in this series, falling by a combined score of 24-9. Here's a look at what little went right today, and what sealed the season's end.
1. Unlike yesterday, when the Seminoles quickly found themselves in a 4-0 hole, they looked great out of the gates tonight, and did so excelling where they usually struggle. Mike Compton set the Gators down in order to begin the game, and the 'Noles were aggressive against UF starter A.J. Puk in claiming a 2-0 advantage in the inning's bottom half, the big hit being an RBI double off the bat of Quincy Nieporte.
2. On the other hand, Florida began playing very uncharacteristicly sloppy. Puk, who came in with 93 strikeouts in 68.2 innings pitched, doesn't usually pitch to that much contact, and the 'Noles really drilled some of his early pitches.
Center fielder Buddy Reed failed to come up with a lead-off line drive off the bat of Josh Delph and followed that up with a throwing error, both unlike this defensively stout UF team. As was the play that got FSU on the board: when second baseman Dalton Guthrie came home with a grounder hit by DJ Stewart, the throw beat Delph by quite a bit, but catcher JJ Schwarz simply dropped the ball.
3. Many will be sour after ending the season with two blowout losses, especially at the hands of Florida, but taking a big-picture view of what just transpired really should result in some positive perspective about this FSU baseball season. While many thought the Seminoles' postseason streak would continue, some believed the 'Noles might have to travel for regional play.
Of course, that wasn't the case, as the 'Noles rode an unexpected ACC Tournament Championship to hosting duties and an impressive undefeated regional title. It was needed atonement after going two-and-out last year while hosting as a national seed.
Yes, the ‘Noles fell short in Gainesville, but this is an extremely young team that relied on inexpienced players in a number of key spots and still made it this far. That should not be forgotten. Is it disappointing to lose to your rival? Of course, but this was far from a disappointing season.
1. But that doesn't mean that it hasn't been frustrating at times. And tonight was no exception, particularly given how well things began for the 'Noles. Still: it could have been better. The Seminoles had their 2-0 lead with the bases loaded and just one out and failed to push across any more scores when Ben DeLuzio fanned and Darren Miller grounded out.
Against a team as hot as Florida, FSU really needed to plate at least one more run, and then hold that lead for a while. Let the doubt sink in in the UF dugout; make them begin to entertain the notion that this could all come down to just one game.
Instead, Florida jumped on Florida State starter Mike Compton for three runs in the top of the second, aided by an FSU error; they've plagued the 'Noles all season, and tonight was no exception, as the Seminoles committed a pair.
2. But this still could have been a close game, with the 'Noles down just 3-2. FSU pitching as a whole, however, just couldn't cool the blistering UF bats. Compton went just 2.2 innings, and the Gators scored at least one run in every inning except the first, seventh, and ninth, the last two of which Florida played with the game largely in hand.
3. Leading the charge for the Gators was freshman catcher JJ Schwarz, whom the 'Noles just couldn't get out all weekend. He went 5-7 with 3 home runs, 5 RBIs, and a pair of walks.